One Last Story from Huntsville
During our last day in Huntsville, Alabama (Sunday, April 9) we had a brief membership meeting of the Global Network to review some organizational issues such as an evaluation of the conference, a new board appointment and where we would hold our annual space conference in 2018. We met just outside the hotel around a fire pit and when we were going around doing introductions a man introduced himself as a US Air Force officer who was staying at the hotel and wanted to see what our group of "interesting people" was talking about. (Many in our circle were wearing Veterans For Peace shirts/hats.) So he sat and listened to some of our meeting.
After the meeting was over John Schuchardt from Ipswich, Massachusetts went up to the officer to talk with him. John himself had been a Marine Corp Reserve Officer during the Vietnam War and quit the military because of his opposition to the war. I asked John to share his conversation with the officer on April 9 and here is what he wrote.
My conversation with the Air Force Reserve Officer who listened in on part of our meeting:
He said that he was an Administrative Liaison for B-1, B-2, and B-52's bombers in the Reserves. His job was to manage "assets" and coordinate, advise, and plan the deployment of Reserve assets with regular Air Force command structures. His position was increasingly being called upon because there is a growing emphasis from reserve status to operational status. (This would mirror or parallel the increasing use of Reserve units to shift from the normal Reserve assignments to overseas war-fighting.)
I did not ask all the questions I would want to, trying to keep things social and friendly. I didn't find out his rank, his Reserve unit, or exactly why he was in Huntsville. He suggested he was taking part in meetings to work on over-all issues of force integration and changes being brought about as his reserve assets became more integrated with operational regular commands.
I did say, "59 US cruise missiles attacked a base in Syria with Russian personnel (and probably planes) yesterday. What is going to happen tomorrow?" His reply, "Nobody knows."
My parting handshake was, "Please don't blow up our beautiful world." He smiled and agreed that he hoped not.
I think it was interesting that the officer wanted to stick his head into our circle and we were glad he did. It was good that John spoke with him afterward to make the human connection. And their parting words were important as well as they reaffirmed for me that not everyone inside the military is anxious to blow up our planet.
Reflecting on this chance encounter I thought about all the US military personnel stationed around the world and, just from my own experiences in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, I am certain that many heartfelt discussions are currently happening on US bases between those who are eager for war and those who are not.
We know from past history that signals from military personnel who are doubting US aggressive moves, risking WW III, can in fact help slow down the grinding wheels of the Pentagon's war machine. I don't know if the officer who sat in our meeting is one such doubter or not - but the fact that he was drawn to our peaceful spirit speaks for itself.
We can only hope that the legions of US military personnel who do in fact doubt the current mission will speak up often and loudly and help bring some sanity to the out-of-control US imperial war machine. Everyone has a role in protecting our Mother Earth from a devastating global nuclear war.